Ben Stokes called it a day on his ODI career at his home ground, the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham, opting to retire from the format on his own terms against South Africa. Stokes, now his nation’s Test captain, mentioned that he found all three formats “unsustainable” in the tight schedule and could no longer give his best to the team in ODIs. However, he will be remembered for his role as England won the 2019 World Cup on home soil, and the Riverside Ground was a tribute to a brilliant career as the 31-year-old walked off the pitch for the final time.
The ECB’s Twitter handle shared a video of the standing ovation Stokes received from his home crowd, which was the focus of the first match of the series between England and South Africa. The video sees Stokes raise his bat to the England supporters, who look visibly emotional as they return to the pavilion.
The all-rounder has not been shy about his struggles in coping with a taxing cricket schedule with international commitments and T20 leagues around the world, having pulled out of this year’s IPL and the second edition of The Hundred due to personal reasons. Battered by injury, Stokes explained that it was more or less a self-imposed decision, in order to maintain fitness for the rest of his career.
Stokes ended his ODI career with a batting average of 39 and a strike rate of 95 with 3 centuries and 74 wickets in a 105-match career. His most memorable achievements came at key times, notably against New Zealand in the 2019 WC final, where his 84*(98) forced the team into a super over after the innings had gone astray.
The final performance of his ODI career did not go to plan, Stokes was costly in 5 overs, 0-44, and dismissed for 5(11), as England lost by 62 runs to a South African side charged by Rossi. Van der Dussen’s century and Aiden Markram’s quickfire 77, as well as Enrich Nortje’s 4-fer, including 3 wickets in an over. However, it was a case of obscuring the result, and while Stokes may wish he could pull off an unlikely ODI result for England one last time, the reception he received shows how much he is appreciated anyway.
South Africa take a 1-0 lead in the series with 2 matches remaining in Manchester and Leeds. This could be followed by a three-match T20I series that could see Stokes return, and a three-match Test series soon to come as good captain Stokes looks to keep up the momentum of England’s red-ball side. To reach new heights in that format of the game.